March 5, 2013

It really happened

How's this for a fun problem to advise someone about?

Picture this: three persons in one room - let's call them Charlene, Lisa and Billy.
Billy was talking to Lisa.
Charlene, not really directly being addressed, kept nodding, saying yes/no and acting as if she knew something about what was being talked about.
The catch? Billy and Lisa were talking about a secret that people weren't supposed to know about! (Yeah, I know, that's the nature of secrets, right?0

Charlene goes to me, worried, panic-stricken. Tells me what happened.

Me: so why did you act like you knew what they were talking about?
Charlene: I didn't want to look like I didn't know.
Me: But you didn't know!
Charlene: Yeah, but I didn't want to look stupid.
Me: Let me get this straight. You had no clue what they were talking about.
Charlene: Yeah.
Me: Yet you kept acting and reacting to what they were talking about.
Charlene: Yeah.
Me: Now you're worried because it turns out they were talking about a secret they shared, and you acted like you knew about it.
Charlene: Yeah. Billy probably wondered how I knew.
Me: I can imagine. 
Charlene: I don't know what to do.
Me: I don't know. You figure it out.

There you have it, folks. The desire not to look stupid can yield the strangest results. Of course, I could've told her:
   - "you really shouldn't have done that."
   - "now you put Lisa in trouble. Billy might think that Lisa told you, and that she can't be trusted with secrets."
   - "if you don't know, just ask. that's all."
   - "know when to be a know-it-all."
But she had to learn a lesson. I just hope she did.